If you are starting to blog for the very first time I thought I would share with you some advice
Hopefully, it will be of use.
Choose Your Blogging Platform Wisely
Let’s start off with a blogging platform. I like and recommend the self-hosted version of WordPress that you can find at WordPress.org.
I think if you are going to blog it is worthwhile starting off on your own platform. WordPress is frankly incredible. In less than 15 minutes, you can have a website up and be blogging on your own domain.
I am pivoting a project of mine called WP Passport and if you need more advice about how to work with WordPress go and pay us a visit.
However it is very straightforward. Much like writing into a Word Processor.
If you aren’t feeling technical enough to get it up and running on your own hosted server then you could consider running your site on WordPress.com. This has some advantages in that it is almost immediate to get set up. It has some disadvantages though: You can’t monetize your site as easily and you aren’t as flexible in how you design it. However if you just want to get a taste for blogging it is fantastic. I would recommend it over alternatives such as Blogger and Tumblr because it is very easy to port your content into your own WordPress site.
Many web-hosting companies will either help you set it up or have some software that will do it for you in one click. Bluehost who is one of my favoured domain hosts will sell you a domain for $4 a month if you are prepared to pay for 3 years in advance, otherwise it is $6 a month for one year. They will also set up the website for you for an extra $99, but to be honest it is so straightforward that you can probably do it yourself. Bluehost was the first webhost I ever used and until I got to a certain volume when it became too small I found it really good. I still have some friends using it. based on my recommendation and they still like it. But there are other alterbatives out there.
Become Committed To Your Blog
The second thing I would suggest is that you make a commitment to your blog. I started this website initially back in 2006. Had I been blogging even once a week by now I would have 312 posts. As it is I have only 120 published. And not only that but the standard of my blogging would be a lot better.
By committing to blog regularly even if you commit to just posting a quote once a week you will be on the road to becoming a blogger.
And you can blog about whatever you want.
As Dick Costolo of Twitter said:
Be Kind to Yourself, Back Up
Thirdly when writing I would really recommend making sure you back up frequently and often. The other day I was writing a post and my computer restarted so I lost what I had written. There is an obvious but important lesson for any blogger/writer there. Always back up and often – and this is another great reason for using WordPress.
I was writing using the Hemingway App, which is awesome and I will touch on it next. Unfortunately, there is no autosave function. So I am going back to writing inside WordPress. Not only does this back up frequently but it also has a great system for revisions.
Do some kind of editing
I do very little editing on my blog. At least currently. To become a great blogger you need to edit. I have added in a daily blog as my commitment for the time being. Down the line I may change that to less often.
However at a bare minimum I highly recommend two tools to help improve your writing.
- The first is a Chrome extension called Grammarly which works in the background and tells me what kind of grammatical mistakes I am making. It’s pretty useful. It comes with a free and a paid version. I am currently using the free version and so far in this post it tells me I have 2 critical grammar mistakes and 10 Advanced Issues. To discover what those are I need to buy the premium version. I haven’t yet but will consider it. Bonus points to anyone who can tell me what Grammarly might think those advanced issues are.
- The second tool is called Hemingway. The way this works is by measuring the following:
- Grading sentences as Hard to read or very hard to read.
- Letting you know whether phrases have simpler alternatives.
- Tells you the number of adverbs you have in a post. And gives you a suggestion depending on post length as to how many are suitable!
- It tells you when you are writing in a passive voice or not.
It will also give you the following:
- What grade level you need to have achieved to read the writing
- How many paragraphs, sentences, words, characters and letters you have written. Get to the end of this post and you will see how many there are in this one.
- And how long it will take to read. I’d be interested to hear how accurate that is. So if you get a moment let me know in the comments how long it took you to get through this post!
So for this post the results were as follows:
Grade 4 (Good)
- Read. Time………..00:03:03
6 of 59 sentences are hard to read.
1 of 59 sentences is very hard to read.
4 phrases have simpler alternatives.
12 adverbs. Aim for 7 or fewer.
4 uses of passive voice. Aim for 12 or fewer.
Let me know in the comments what you have found useful on your blogging journey. Also if you would find videos useful on Grammarly and Hemingway let me know.
Time spent writing: 40 minutes.
Time From Starting Writing to Finishing: 1 hour 10 minutes
How Happy I am with Result: 6